After a 27-year union, Bill and Melinda Gates unexpectedly divorced, leaving several people baffled.
Some have remembered how the power couple – who seemed to adopt the perfect Silicon Valley pattern of meeting at work, raising a family, and establishing a foundation – really began their marriage in some unusual ways.
Bill Gates would enjoy a long weekend every year after marrying his wife at a cozy beach cottage in North Carolina — with his old girlfriend.
When he married Melinda French in 1994, the billionaire Microsoft founder made sure the strange relationship remained part of the package, he told Time magazine in a 1997 interview.
Bill Gates said in the interview that has resurfaced in the wake of his and Melinda Gates’ divorce announcement that he and his ex-girlfriend would take annual weekend trips to the beach in North Carolina even after marriage.
Gates said of his private getaways with fellow geek techie and ex Ann Winblad — Winblad, who is now happily married to actor Kevin Kline’s detective brother, Alex Kline — “We can play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology,” a source told The Post on Tuesday.
The trips would involve dune buggy rides, hang gliding, and beach walks, according to the outlet.
In 1987, the couple called it quits.
“When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda. I called Ann and asked for her approval,” Gates said.
“I said she’d be a good match for him because she had intellectual stamina.” Winblad recommended.
The annual weekend was defined as a “arrangement” in a Time magazine profile. And according to the Daily Mail, Melinda approved of this peculiar arrangement.
Winblad is said to have explained, “We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves.” “And we marvel about how, as two young overachievers, we began a great adventure on the fringes of a little-known industry and it landed us at the center of an amazing universe.”
Gates and Winblad met in 1984 at a programming conference. They went on “virtual dates” by seeing the same movie in separate locations at the same time. According to a 1997 interview with Gates for Time, they spoke about the film they had seen on their phones afterward. They began the beach weekend ritual in 1984, when Gates paid a visit to Winblad at her beach house in North Carolina. According to the New York Post, the practice persisted even after they split up.
Intellectually, they were a good match. They brought the 1,100-page “Molecular Biology of the Gene” textbook with them on holiday in Brazil, and they spent their days researching molecular biology together, according to Time. Gates and Winblad, on the other hand, separated in 1987. Winblad, who is five years Gates’ senior, was able to marry at the age of 36. They split up when he was 31 and concentrated on creating the Microsoft empire. The same year, he met Melinda French.
According to the Daily Mail, as Gates was considering proposing to his future partner, Winblad assisted him in determining what he desired.
Gates and Melinda declared their divorce on Twitter on Monday.
According to the paper, Gates still had a photo of him and Winblad on a holiday to Germany in his office at the time of the interview.
Among the few personal photos in his office was one of him, Melinda, and a group of friends from a trip to Indonesia in 1995.
Of course, certain analysts believe that a couple’s ability to allow each other space and individuality will help them succeed in the long run.
Indeed, Bill and Melinda Gates went on to have three children, ages ranging from 18 to 25, and developed their eponymous foundation into a massively powerful global force that has now invested $50 billion battling hunger and disease around the globe.
On the surface, their breakup seems to be amicable as well.